6 Ways To Be A More Courageous Leader
Leadership expert Brad Lomenick offers some simple tips that will help you make tough decisions with confidence.
I have great respect for professional baseball players; they are anything but wimpy. To stand in front of home plate with a ball heading toward your head at 95 miles per hour with nothing but a piece of wood to bat it away takes guts.
Life and leadership are a lot like baseball. Even the best batters strike out sometimes. But a true athlete, and courageous leaders, can never run away from the pitch.
As a leader, you sit atop the mountain. You have no choice but to face the slopes. You can lean back, coast, and play it safe, snowplowing your way painfully back and forth across the mountain, or you can point your skis down the hill, nose over the tips, and dominate the run. Being a courageous leader requires you to push beyond the norm, be willing to take risks and quit being a wimp.
Courage is not waiting for your fear to go away; it is confronting your fear head-on.
Through working with young leaders around the nation, I have found six essentials that can help build a culture of courage in an organization:
1. Set scary standards.
Give your people a goal that scares them, and you’ll produce leaders who know what it means to overcome fear.
2. Allow for failure.
The road to success is many times paved through multiple failures. Allow for and even encourage your team to fail as they attempt to succeed.
3. Make decisions.
Don’t let ideas, strategy, communication, and important organizational markers sit idly by on the side without saying yes or no. Leaders are decision makers, and must do it constantly.
4. Reward innovation.
Rewarding innovation will challenge your team to grow in their roles.
5. Pursue the right opportunities.
Aggressively pursue a few things that make sense. Say no to things that don’t—even if it means saying no more often than you’re comfortable.
6. Learn to delegate.
This is one of the most courageous things a leader can do. Entrusting others with important tasks requires letting go and relinquishing control.
If you want your team to be courageous, give them the chance to lead. Early and often.
The good news is that unlike some leadership traits, courage is not inborn; it’s learned. The natural response is to run from what frightens us, but life’s greatest leaps occur when we resist this impulse.
What is one way that you can be more courageous today?
— Jon Gruden, at the 2013 NFL Draft
I took a couple of months off. I worked. Alot. I would like to say that I gained greater clarity these past few months. Learned that clarity is one of the most valuable gifts one can receive when practiced correctly. I’ll say this: I think this is going to be a good year and I’m ready to share that even more. Until then, I’ll show you this….
Dear Ann Coulter of the Day: After Ann Coulter referred to President Obama as a retard in a tweet during Monday night’s presidential debate, Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens penned her this open letter:Dear Ann Coulter,
Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?
I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.
I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.
Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.
Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.
Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.
After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.
I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.
Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.
No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.
Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.
A friend you haven’t made yet, John Franklin Stephens Global Messenger Special Olympics Virginia
This was probably the most interesting and intelligent letter that I read in my life. Its good tohear that not eveyone is out for scalps but more so acceptance.
Khiel Frazier (Auburn #10)
Marcus Mariota (Oregon #08)
The first has potential. The second is looking pretty awesome right now.
Retirement for Rubber Sole Shoes
I messed up. I failed. For the better part of nearly two years I compartmentalized that failure and made it my life. It became the banner that I carried and I never put it down. It became the requisite for any analysis that I made up of myself and kept me from allowing anyone to assess me. Me. That was a word that I started out any application with. Ironically, it was the same inhibitor that never allowed me to finish one. I sunk. I dug holes and hid. I stayed away from people and set fire to bridges and I’m unsure if I’ll ever be able to put some of them out. I was a douche. I sat in a room and read books. Sulked. Slept. Stared at a wall, but there was a turning point.
Last week I had to retire a pair of shoes. Those same shoes got me through the first six months of my current job. There a shade darker than what they were when brand new. They have holes and grease marks all over. The tread is mostly gone and what used to be white is now brown. That’s okay. They worked well. They were more successful than any other pair of shoes that I have ever worn. I guess that’s part of the reason why I bought another pair in all white(they match better with khaki). I plan to do better. Organize better. Plan better. Ask better. Be better.
In my mind I put up doors: a door for my pity, a door for my remorse, a door for my fears, a door for mistakes, a door for my regrets, etc. I keep them half locked; not for lack of trying to completely lock them away but that’s bad for me. So one has to deal with it. I’m learning how. I’ll let you know when I’m done.
P.S. On a lighter note: The aforementioned shoes in this story are going to be donated (along with other battered veterans) to the converse re-purposing program to be used for charitable causes(new shoes for less fortunate, parks, basketball courts, etc.). I hope you will do the same now also.